Sidetracked by “Issues”?
God’s people are easily distracted today. And politics plays into this distraction. We can become so obsessed with our political views, we can become so upset over world conditions, that we forget to preach and live the Gospel. We can spend so much time exposing filth that we come to bear the smell of it. Some of it always rubs off. If we keep digging around in the garbage and gossip of the day, we may end up as nothing more than rubbish collectors.
When we try to expedite the work of God by human expedients we always get into trouble. God’s work must be done God’s way. How much of our work is done in a worldly manner! We resort to stunts and tricks and showmanship to advance the kingdom. The whole thing is a pitiful substitute for God’s plan – working through consecrated people filled with the Spirit.
I am not suggesting that we should dodge the issues. The apostle Paul met them head-on, and there were plenty of them in places like Corinth and Rome. But we do have to deal with them from God’s standpoint and not leave our base. The problem with politics is that we follow all manner of human devices to “speed up” God’s work. The whole thing is an admission of failure, a cheap replacement for God’s way of working, which is the cross. Christ is what really matters. Everything is else is to be judged in light of Him.
Today the church is busy with politics to deal with this or that problem or to correct something or another. Well meant as all this may be, we are overlooking or purposely avoiding the real issue. Our Lord spoke of “the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith” as being of major importance. If the church of Jesus Christ today repented, submitted to the Lordship of Christ, and became Spirit-filled, the power of God would remove obstacles that all of our political might and power cannot clear.
Today the church has become a private cult, and a selfish one at that. Rather than offering a radical alternative to the status quo, a third race that is neither pagan nor Jewish, it backs the Establishment. The earliest Christians were enthusiasts for Jesus, and they couldn’t wait to share that enthusiasm with others. Their love and fellowship broke down the natural barriers between races, between social classes, between the sexes. One cannot fail to notice the priority of those early Christians as they shared their faith with others. Political associations meant nothing to them. Yet their message had political implications, if primarily negative and corrective. No worldly ruler, no Caesar, is the supreme Lord. That title belongs only to King Jesus!
Politics offers no hope. Heads of state give grand speeches and draw up noble documents and confer at distinguished summits, but all their proposals become nothing but scraps of paper. Politics tries to carve a durable brotherhood out of the rotting wood of unregenerate humanity. We have pinned our hopes on mere men, looking for them to sit down at tables and work out the formula for peace and justice. But the grandiose schemes of politicians and ecclesiastics who would build the kingdom of heaven without the King will come to nothing. Jesus alone is the Blessed Hope.
Someone has said that you cannot pick up the sword without putting down the cross. If I bear the sword today, it will be the sword of the Spirit, the precious Word of the cross, which is sharper than any sword of man. I will gladly lose my life if necessary to take this Word to the ends of the earth. I am done with ideological Christianity – whether of the New Right or the Evangelical Left. I will take my stand on the eternal, not on the transient and the temporary. No drummed-up theatrics will do.
God is not mocked. His way is plain: “If My people … then will I” (2 Chron. 7:14).
November 9, 2006
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.